GREENSBORO — Two former high school sports standouts from the area were among the 13 student-athletes who were honored by Guilford College at its annual year-end ceremony in Dana Auditorium on May 9. Guilford’s athletics staff selected its top performers from the past year and the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) presented the Quakies Awards for a second straight year. Remarks by former Major League Baseball player Tony Womack ’92 and athletics director Tom Palombo concluded the evening.
Carson Long, a standout on this year’s Quakers basketball team, was named as the school’s Best Male Athlete, while Heaven Walters was among seven outstanding upperclassmen who earned Guilford’s top athletic honor, the Nereus C. English ’26 Athletic Leadership Award.
Long, a native of Pilot Mountain who graduated from East Surry High School in 2015, had a tremendous season as a 6’4” forward for Guilford, which enjoyed a 24-6 campaign and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. He became only the second sophomore to be honored with the school’s Male Athlete of the Year award, and the first in five years.
He was named First Team All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference and earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the ODAC Tournament. He also received Third Team D3hoops.com All-South Region and Second Team All-South District laurels from the National Association of Basketball Coaches. NCCSIA recognized Long as a Second Team All-State (College Division) honoree. He scored a club-high 14.2 points per game, ninth-best in the ODAC, and a team-high 2.2 three-pointers per contest. Long scored in double figures 23 times, including five 20-point games and two 30-point outings.
Long played three seasons of varsity basketball and two of varsity baseball while at East Surry, earning All-Conference honors in both sports. He played second fiddle to the Cardinals’ all-time leading scorer in his first two seasons of varsity basketball, but then had a tremendous senior season in which he was chosen as all-Northwest 1A Conference, All-District 11 and 1A All-State, scoring as many as 39 points in a single game that season. He had been attending basketball camps at Guilford for many years and signed with the Quakers following that season.
Walters, who lives in Elkin and graduated from Starmount High School, captained Guilford’s women’s basketball team to the 2017 ODAC Tournament title, which clinched the Quakers’ second straight NCAA Division III Tournament appearance. She earned Second Team All-ODAC honors as a sweet-shooting forward who ranked fourth among the league’s field-goal percentage leaders. Walters averaged 11.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists in the finest of her four seasons. A health sciences and exercise and sport sciences double major, the senior made the Dean’s List all eight semesters and was a CoSIDA Academic All-District V selection last winter. She will attend Emory & Henry College for postgraduate studies in occupational therapy.
Walters played two outstanding varsity seasons for the Lady Rams as a shooting guard. As a senior, she averaged 20.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, including 46 points and 12 rebounds in an 80-76 overtime win over East Wilkes on Feb. 12, 2013. Although Starmount struggled as a team that season, her performance earned her looks from a number of college programs, and she chose Guilford.
The English Award recognizes students who display the highest ideals of athletic accomplishment, leadership and academic achievement.
Following the awards presentation, Womack addressed the 400-plus students and coaches in attendance. He encouraged the students to appreciate the opportunity to participate in college athletics and to savor the relationships established during their college years. The 2001 World Series champion also stressed the value of working hard to reach goals, much as he did in his 13-year professional career that included five major-league postseason trips.
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